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shutter speed question
Old 01-24-2007, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have been having a little trouble with camera shake bluring images, so I looked up this 'rule of thumb':

"A safe rule to follow is to ensure that the shutter speed setting is higher than the focal length of the lens. (As an example, for a focal length of 50mm, the shutter speed setting would be 1/60th of a second and for a focal length of 200mm the shutter speed setting would be 1/250th of a second.) "

If I am hand holding a 24 to 70 mm zoom with a 'full frame' sensor on a canon 5d and have my framing set so the lens is at 50mm, then can my shutter speed be 1/60th of a second or kept in accord with the maximum 70mm focal length of the lens and set at 1/80th or 1/125th?

Thanks for advice.
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-24-2007, 06:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That rule of thumb is only approximate. Some people can hand-hold at slower speeds, and others only at faster speeds than the "rule" allows. Insofar as I know the rule was developed for smaller sized roll film and 35 mm cameras, and ought to apply to digitals. So, if you've got your zoom at 50 mm, 1/60 second is approximately the slowest shutter speed you should use. BUT if you're really steady, braced, and hold your breath, you might be able to hand-hold at 1/8 sec. Or not.
In general, you'll get sharper images of most objects by using higher shutter speeds. FWIW, when I was shooting a lot, I learned that using a tripod gave me crisper images, even when I was shooting at 1/125. But I'm a shaky old geezer.
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-24-2007, 10:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey John! how are ya?

As far as shutter speeds, get an image stabilizing lens and if that doesn't help, use a tripod or lay off the caffeine. For purely physiological reasons, people have a natural tremor and this is more sever in some than others. Use a shutter speed that best suits your needs and if there's blur, switch to a tripod. it may take longer, but you will get the image you want.

-Steven W. Choi
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-24-2007, 10:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No matter how steady one is, if you just use the rule of thumb, you still won't get the ultra sharp photo you would get if you shot the same shot on a tripod. It may not make any difference on a 4x6 print or web post, but when blown up to 16x20, or 100% you will see the difference.
There are tricks however, that can increase your chances. For example, you can shoot a burst of shots (with an dSLR that supports a burst mode) and this increases the chances of getting one sharp shot out of the sequence.
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-24-2007, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pick up or borrow a copy of "Camera Arts" (Jan./Feb. 07), go to page 7 and read Jim Hughes's article "Bodies at Rest". You might learn to shoot at 1/4 second...or at least cut it down by half.
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-25-2007, 11:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCook View Post
I have been having a little trouble with camera shake bluring images, so I looked up this 'rule of thumb':

"A safe rule to follow is to ensure that the shutter speed setting is higher than the focal length of the lens. (As an example, for a focal length of 50mm, the shutter speed setting would be 1/60th of a second and for a focal length of 200mm the shutter speed setting would be 1/250th of a second.) "

If I am hand holding a 24 to 70 mm zoom with a 'full frame' sensor on a canon 5d and have my framing set so the lens is at 50mm, then can my shutter speed be 1/60th of a second or kept in accord with the maximum 70mm focal length of the lens and set at 1/80th or 1/125th?

Thanks for advice.
I've heard that rule as well, but myself, I can go a bit slower, but I do know that isn't for everybody. I'd recommend that you use the fastest shtter speed that would allow you for the dof that you need for that particular shot. A tripod is always a great peice of equipment to have laying around, or brought with you on location if at all possible.

Isaiah
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-25-2007, 01:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You know, I had a guy working for me that refused to use a tripod. He would give me some crap about iso changes and everything else, but would refuse to use this simple essential tool. Always argued the merits of iso and steady hand. Most of the work that I do personally involves canvas sizes of 40x60 or bigger, so I always try to shoot on the heaviest tripod I can use to keep things as still as possible. Simple things like the shutter movement can jar the picture just enough that it's a pain to correct for it afterwards. He doesn't work for me any more...

Unless you're the machine gunner photographer and are zipping around all the time, USE A TRIPOD. If there is even a remote possibility of shooting at a slower shutter speed and iso change will not rectify using a higher one due to noise and other factors, even a simple monopod can solve your problem.

This of course assumes that the rest of your gear isn't causing the problem like....a dirty lense. If you're shooting models and or portraits, you are probably averaging at about an 80mm focal length (35mm film standard equivalent). Distance from subject also matters, so if you are shooting a full figure at 80mm, up the shutter to 1/250. If you're shooting the same model from the waste up at 80mm, you could get by with a slower shutter. If you're expecting to get sharp shots full figure at 1/60, it's not going to happen easily. Some guys can pull this off with breathing techniques and a surgical steady hand...same techniques are used for precision shooting firearms. In your case, get on a tripod and try the difference. The bottom line and what I tell all of my guys is that you do whatever you have to with getting the shot. If you're going to manipulate images, the one thing that is the most difficult thing to correct for is a picture that is out of focus.

-Steven W. Choi
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-25-2007, 01:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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LOL -

"Always argued the merits of iso and steady hand."

Can't wait for your guy to age a bit more. I used to be good with a 50 mm down to 1/8 (sometimes). Now I'm lucky to be steady at 1/125.

How goes it? Any plans to come out this way?
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Re: shutter speed question
Old 01-25-2007, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
It may not make any difference on a 4x6 print or web post, but when blown up to 16x20, or 100% you will see the difference.
That is the problem. I breath right and hold my feet right but at 100% its soft to fuzzy. My 70 to 200 zoom is image stabalized and that works but the 24-70 is the problem.

I think I'll just use a tripod and faster shutter speeds as the burst mode seems a little too 'taking a chance on what might have been the keeper'.

Thanks for the responses
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